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DNA solves South Lake Tahoe murders after 40 years

Parabon Nanolabs has determined that a South Lake Tahoe realtor was responsible for two murders in the 70s by DNA, and the El Dorado County investigators believe he may be responsible for even more murders in the area.

Joseph Holt moved to South Lake Tahoe in 1974 and worked in real estate until his death from a heart attack in 2015. It was not until 2018, until he was identified as a suspect in the deaths of Carol Anderson, 16, and Brynn Rainey, 27, reports KCRA.

Rainey’s body was found buried on August 20, 1977 by horseback riders near the Sunset Stateline Stables.

Joseph Holt

Andersen’s body was found on July 1, 1979, near Sundown Trail and Golden Bear Trail.

Brynn Rainey and Carol Anderson

In 2012, DNA was collected from Anderson and put into a national database. DNA was also collected from Rainey in 2013 from a bloodstain on a shirt and put into the national database.

Although there was no match to anyone, in 2017 additional testing found that the DNA did match each other. Whoever killed Carol also kille Brynn.

In 2018, Parabon Nanolabs did a genetic and genealogical research of the male DNA profile, according to the DA’s office. They built a family tree using the DNA and determined it came from one of three brothers that were now all dead. The next step was to obtain DNA from their children. They got a match when the DNA sample from Joseph Holt’s son showed that the DNA likely belonged to Holt. A toothbrush that belonged to Hold confirmed a DNA match to the DNA obtained from the crime scene all those years ago.

In 2014, authorities searched Holt’s property and found a newspaper article from the 70s about two men who came upon a man burglarizing a vehicle in Los Gatos, reports CBS news. One of the men was shot by the burglar, and the other man was able to tackle the burglar. He got away and dropped his gun. The gun had been stolen from a cab driver in South Lake Tahoe. The sketch of the man looks similar to Joseph Holt.

Given the DNA and circumstantial evidence, task force members concluded Holt was responsible for the murder of Rainey and Andersen, according to the DA’s office. They also believe that Holt may be tied to other murders and could likely be a serial killer, reports CBS News.

Anyone with potential information regarding Holt or any unsolved crimes in El Dorado County should call 530-621-4590.

Missing Marie Hanson

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